Sports / China

Beijing accelerates air pollution control for Olympics expectation

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-04-22 16:27

Beijing accelerates air pollution control for Olympics expectation

Alexander Zhukov (center left), chairman of the International Olympic Committee's evaluation commission, and Guo Jinlong, Party chief of Beijing, greet a primary school student after a wrap-up news conference for the commission's inspection visit to Beijing on March 28, 2015. FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY

 Acrid smog has caused public discontent in Beijing, prompting local authorities to take actions to prevent it from worsening, including closing high-polluting companies, banning substandard vehicles and increasing funding to fight pollution.

In 2014, Beijing shut down 392 companies that cause pollution, upgraded 116 types of environmental protection equipment and slashed 2.3 million tonnes of coal use by closing the Gaojing Thermal Power Plant, one of the four major coal-fired plants.

Meanwhile, regional cooperation is high on the agenda for Beijing authorities in tackling foul air.

Wang Anshun, Beijing's mayor, said at the China Development Forum 2015 that Beijing will map out a long-term plan to combat smog and air pollution with neighboring Tianjin Municipality and Hebei Province last month. Tianjin and Hebei have also been shrouded in smog in recent years.

Regional cooperation to fight pollution has also won support from the central government. The National Development and Reform Commission issued a circular stating that the central government will allocate a total of 1.5 billion yuan ($241.5 million) in funds to help six localities, including Beijing, Tianjin and Heibei, treat air pollution.

For Li Zhu, it may be painful to say goodbye to the historic Guohua plant, but he said it is worth the loss as long as it benefits the environment.

The IOC has sent an evaluation team to China in March and will select the host city of the 2022 Winter Games from either Beijing or Almaty, Kazakhstan, on July 31 in Kuala Lumpur.

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